Lord God, a new year has started and I ask that during this year that lies ahead you will guide me and fill me anew with a deep sense of my dependence on the grace of Jesus Christ. Help me to be mature, not to be upset by trifles, and not to be taken in by fools. Help me to balance work and leisure, family and worship. I ask it in Christ’s name. AMEN
Lord, I pray for those for whom these past few weeks have been a traumatic time. Some have had families breaking up, some have lost loved ones, some have had news of dread disease confirmed. Lord, be especially close to them as they try to rebuild their shattered lives. Give them comfort, strength and hope. I ask in Christ’s name. AMEN
Lord, I thank you for those wise men who trekked long miles to visit Jesus at his birth. Help all Christians, as they worship today, to remember that they too have a journey to make because of Christ. Help them to celebrate the revealing of your love to people who were foreigners, and make us all one body in Christ. In his name I ask it. AMEN
“Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them”.
Ex 25:8 NIV
Somehow religion has come to be associated with buildings and the sense that when we are inside them we are in the presence of God is very strong. And indeed styles of architecture are sometimes associated with different religions.
The sojourn at Sinai marked a most important stage in their desert wanderings for the Israelites. For ever thereafter it was the place they had met with God as well as the place where he had given them the Ten Commandments and sealed the covenant he had entered into with them – that made them his special people. Thereafter they wanted to hold onto that awareness of his presence and received from him instructions on the building of a portable tabernacle. This they were to take with them, place in the centre of their camp when they stopped and it was where the presence of God was understood to be on an ongoing basis. Like the covenant itself this sanctuary was God in his grace giving to them the gift of himself.
In the Gospel which carries his name, John says of Jesus “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn1:14). The phrase “made his dwelling” has also been translated “tabernacle” and “pitched his tent”. It clearly means that Jesus dwelt among us in the same way that God lived in the tent the Israelites made in the desert and where God made his presence felt. Our task, as Christian believers, is to know the presence and dwelling of Jesus Christ with us in our daily lives and in our life as the Christian community, so that we carry the presence of Christ and his glory always and everywhere.
Lord, let me know and live your presence in all my life.
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